UK ‘has highest prison population in western Europe’

The UK has the highest prison population in western Europe, a new report has found.

A snapshot of figures showed more than 90,000 people were locked up in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Of more than 40 administrations included in the analysis, only Russia had more inmates, with just over 600,000.

The UK has had the highest prison population in the EU every year since 2008 at least, according to the Council of Europe’s annual penal statistics.

It said there were 84,373 inmates in England and Wales at the end of 2017, including a small number of individuals in immigration detention.

Poland had the next highest total, with 73,822, followed by France and Germany, with 69,596 and 64,193 respectively. Dates for the figures varied by country.

Scotland had 7,440 prisoners at the end of January 2018, while there were 1,453 in Northern Ireland, according to the report.

The number of inmates in England and Wales, which has nearly doubled in 25 years, has come under the spotlight after a safety crisis swept through much of the estate.

Ministers are considering scrapping sentences of six months or less for some offences in an effort to drive down re-offending rates and relieve pressure on crowded jails.

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